Steady exercise for six weeks will help you start seeing fitness results. You will experience increased endurance and strength, and if you follow a sensible, healthy diet, weight loss will come naturally too.
Determine Your Fitness Level
Everyone has to start somewhere, so the next six weeks will depend upon your current fitness level. If you consider yourself sedentary, opting to use the elevator instead of the stairs, and never do any physical fitness, you are at the beginner level.
Someone in the intermediate category may take stairs from time to time, isn’t a complete stranger to a treadmill and can keep up playing with the kids in the yard.
An advanced athlete is someone who adheres to an exercise plan and has chosen exercise as a way of life. Advanced exercisers pose a little more of a challenge because they’ve “done it all,” so toning and strengthening takes a little more creativity.
A six-week fitness plan consists of working out at least five to six times per week for an average of 45-60 minutes per day.
Different exercises or exercise intensities should be used depending upon your fitness level. No matter which level you are currently working at, you should choose a cardio and a strength routine. You will alternate days with these routines to allow certain muscle groups to first break down then repair.
Cardio exercises for all levels include running, jogging, walking, biking, elliptical training, rowing, aerobic dancing, kick boxing and swimming. Your fitness level will determine your intensity. For example, someone who is a beginner may jog at 12- to 13-minute mile, while an athlete can expect to keep a comfortable 8-or 9-minute-mile pace. Work within your intensity level as this will increase as your workout progresses.
For strength exercises, enlist weight training, yoga, Pilates or water weight-training. If you plan to weight train, either join a gym or work out at home by purchasing hand weights and possibly a weight-training DVD to help keep you on track.
Start with cardio on your first day and then hit the weights and do your strength routine the next day. Be sure you always take at least one day off of exercise per week to allow your entire body to rest and recuperate from the workouts.
After four weeks of doing the same routines on the same day, add a new component to each routine. For example, if you’ve been running three miles for cardio, add another mile. If you are weight training for strength, increase your weight or add an exercise for a new body part.
By the sixth week you can either try a new routine, like trying swimming instead of running, or add another mile to your run. You may want to try a new strength routine for the last two weeks of the six-week plan or do new weight-training exercises focusing on a new muscle group.
After a few weeks on the current program you may want to hit your first week of training again. It takes about four to six weeks for the body to get used to a routine. The reason you don’t want your body used to the routine is because your fitness progression will plateau and weight loss with be nonexistent. As long as you keep the body “guessing,” you will continue to see results.